Ralph Waldo Emerson | Transcendentalist

Ralph Waldo Emerson And Transcendentalism


This article contains amazon affiliate links and I receive a commission should you purchase.

Ralph Waldo was one of the most formidable voices of the transcendental movement.

Transcendentalism is an idea that says that the basic truth of the universe is beyond ordinary understanding. It’s a spiritual or religious view, but not necessarily a Christian one. The term “transcendentalism” was first used by Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher who lived in the late 1700s. Transcendentalists believe that we can understand the world only through our own experience, not through logic or reason. They also believe in the power of nature and humanity to make us better people. Other famous transcendentalists include Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman. Emerson being one of the most notable. 

The Transcendentalism movement that began in the early 1800s. At the start of the movement in the early nineteenth century transcendentalists believed that humans could transcend their physical and mental limitations, and achieve a greater understanding of the world around them. The philosophy offers a notion of perpetual openness.

It also took shape at the height of the American renaissance which gave way to new thought and progressive ideals. Transcendentalists believe that all people are connected to nature, and that we can learn from nature’s wisdom. They also believe in the power of individual experience, and that each person has the ability to find his or her own truth. These beliefs led transcendentalists to value intuition and emotion over reason, and to focus on individual growth and development. Transcendentalism had a significant impact on American thought, literature, and culture, and its ideals continue to resonate with people today.

nature and transcendentalism
Transcendentalism + Nature


American transcendentalism is the philosophy that transcendence, or the highest reality, lies outside of the physical world. Transcendentalists believe that nature is a representation of the divine, and that it can be used to access transcendence. They believe that human nature should naturally be in in accordance with the human mind. This philosophy stresses the importance of intuition and feeling over reason and intellect and innate self development comes through this belief. Transcendentalists also emphasize the individual’s connection to nature, and the belief that all people are equal. This philosophy was developed in part as a response to the Industrial Revolution, which transcendentalists saw as damaging to both people and nature. Today, transcendentalism remains an influential force in American culture, shaping attitudes towards both nature and the individual.

What Transcendentalists Believe And Why The Movement Holds Power

Transcendentalism is often seen as a philosophical and literary movement that occurred in the late 1820s and 1830s in the northeastern United States. Transcendentalists were reacting against what they saw as the stifling intellectualism of formal religion, stuffy conventions, and artificiality of modern life. They believed in the inherent goodness of both people and nature, and that true knowledge could be attained not just through reason but also through intuition and spiritual connection to the divine throughout life.

Transcendentalists place great emphasis on individual freedom, self-reliance, and nonconformity. Another notable and important transcendentalists is Margaret Fuller. While the movement ultimately faded away in the mid-nineteenth century, but its ideas live on in many ways in American thought and culture.

Nature Transcendentalists
Nature + Transcendentalism


This philosophical and literary movement flourished in the mid-19th century with the prevailing through being that people could connect with God through nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson became one of the most famous transcendentalists because of his extensive writing on the subject. Emerson’s essays “Nature” and “Self-Reliance” are considered transcendentalist classics. His ideas became highly influential and continue to resonant with people today who are looking for a more spiritual connection with the world around them and those wanting to go deeper in life.

Why Emerson’s Essay Titled Self Reliance Is Considered To Be A Transcendental Classic

The primary philosophy of transcendentalism, as espoused by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay “Self-Reliance,” is that people should transcend the dictates of society and listen to the voice of nature instead. Emerson posits that individuals are intrinsically good and that they will be able to find fulfillment if they follow their own instincts. This runs counter to the prevailing thinking of Emerson’s day, which was that humans are innately sinful and must rely on religious doctrine for guidance. Instead, Emerson argues that humans can find God within themselves and that they don’t need organized religion to be moral people. People should rely on themselves for guidance and not defer to others. This notion of self-reliance is at the heart of transcendentalism and is what sets it apart from other philosophies of its time.

To get your hands on the book click the image to the right. One of his most profound works – On Self Reliance: Advice, Wit, and Wisdom from the Father of Transcendentalism.


Henry David Thoreau was an American transcendentalist philosopher, writer, and naturalist. He is best known for his book Walden, which describes his experience living in a simple cabin in the woods near Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau was also a passionate abolitionist and advocate for civil rights. In his essay “Civil Disobedience,” he argued that people should not obey unjust laws. His belief in transcendentalism – that humans can transcend their material existence and reach a higher plane of existence – heavily influenced his writing and thought. Today, Thoreau is considered one of the most important figures in American literature.

Using Nature As A Transcendentalist

The Transcendental Club was a group of writers and thinkers in the mid-19th century who promoted transcendentalism, an idealistic philosophy that believed in the individual’s ability to transcend the limitations of the material world. American intellect was on the rise and certain ideas and transcendental forms were what the American scholar and new generation were all about. The club had its origins in New England, and its members included some of the most famous names in American literature, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The group held regular meetings to discuss philosophical ideas, and their work had a profound effect on American thought. Their ideas were a major influence on the transcendental movement in yoga and meditation. Today, the transcendentalist philosophy continues to have a significant impact on American society.

As you have gathered I’m absolutely obsessed with nature and make a concerted effort to get into nature as much as humanly possibly, generally daily.

Check out my story on Forest Bathing where I head into the forest for the hottest tips with Nature Connection Coach Hana Lee Goldin.

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation is a form of mindfulness meditation that was popularized in the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It involves sitting comfortably with your eyes closed and repeating a mantra, or sacred word or phrase, for 20 minutes. The goal is to transcend, or go beyond, the constantly chattering mind to experience a deeper level of awareness and peace. Although it is often associated with Hinduism and Buddhism, transcendental meditation is open to people of any faith.

Transcendental meditation has been shown to have a number of health benefits including reducing stress, improving sleep quality, and reducing blood pressure. It can also help to increase focus and concentration, and reduce anxiety and depression. While there are many different types of meditation, transcendental meditation is one of the simplest and most effective techniques for achieving inner peace.

If you’re new to meditation check out my beginner’s guide here.

To go really deep be sure to download the ultimate self inquisition guide here.

Or to go deep with one of my own guided meditations check out to deep trance guided meditation here.

Be sure to have some of the ideal meditation gear so you are primed and ready like this absolute must have or this or this.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

featured post category

Listen in or read the latest posts for my favorite takeaways from each Blossom Your Awesome Podcast episode. I break it down and make it easy for you to get a takeaway or two. 

category here

my nightly
skincare regime

You can either type this featured post content manually or use a post look-up function in SHOWIT directly. It can also rotate between several posts.

Here to write, read, inspire, teach. I'm asking powerful questions that make my guests go deep. Check me out here on the blog, or on the Blossom Your Awesome Podcast of course or in case you didn't know I'm also the founder of suesblues.com so check me out there. 

Hello! I'm Sue.

Comments +

Ralph Waldo Emerson | Transcendentalist




stay a awhile + read


subscribe on


Check out my stories on youtube. I'm talking to experts, teachers, trainers and bringing you insights to help you Blossom Your Awesome!

Check out my